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Microsoft Surface Pricing Surfaces

Published on October 16, 2012 by in Commentary, News, Rumors

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Jim Dalrymple at The Loop reports that after a website leak Microsoft has officially announced the entry price point for the Microsoft Surface will be $499. You can get the rest of the pricing details from him. But something else he said stuck out to me.

It’s interesting to note that this initial version of the Surface tablet will only be available directly through Microsoft – at its retail stores and through Microsoft online, but not through the vast network of physical and online retailers who normally carry Microsoft products.

Huh, maybe Microsoft has more stores than I thought.

Nope. 31 — and just 29 in the US. Interesting.

There was a time when Apple only had 31 stores, but it still used third party retailers to help sell its products. Maybe Microsoft should be taking a page out of Apple’s playbook, especially when it has such a huge chain of distributors. Will limiting its options look like a strength or a weakness? Is the goal to get people to finally visit the Microsoft stores?

It’s interesting, to say the least. I for one am happy to see Microsoft mixing it up.

 
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You Can Now Share Reminder Lists with Apple’s Reminder Mac App

Published on October 15, 2012 by in Apps, Commentary, Mac, News

YES YES YES.

And, finally! This is the kind of thing I would have liked to see come with Reminders when Apple first shipped it. I know Apple likes to keep their products simple at first and only ship the essential elements in the first iteration, but in a world of online collaboration, sharing tasks is pretty essential.

Now my wife will have no trouble reminding me to take out the trash, and to come home when I’ve been out too late and…aw crap. Please don’t tell her about this new feature.

Maybe she won’t notice it  yet, since it is only available for the Mac and web versions of Reminders. Hopefully an iOS update will get pushed soon to get this functionality to where most users interact with the Reminders App.

(Source: MacRumors)

 
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An ‘Open’ Letter from the FBI to Android Users

Published on October 15, 2012 by in Apple, Commentary

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 The FBI’s Internet Crime Compliance Center (IC3) has issued a warning to Android users alerting them of malicious software running rampant on smartphones like Samsung’s Galaxy S III (GS3) and other Android-based devices.

Two forms of malware cited by the IC3 are Loozfon, which steals information from users, and FinFisher, which can give nefarious hackers control over a user’s device.

But, Android is open, which is better for users. Right?

Now, before Apple-haters jump on the nearest soapbox and scream, “but Apple has had malware too,” consider the issue at hand. Apple has had bad apps slip through the App Store approval process cracks, but the system is working — an app might slip through, but users report it, Apple investigates, and the app is removed. Quickly.

As for Android’s openness? Not so much. The problem with allowing anyone to do anything is that someone will do something terrible. If you don’t think that apps should be regulated (yes, even if some legitimate apps are kept out) the threat of malware should be enough for you to at least reconsider.

 
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iPad Mini Prices Allegedly Leaked

 

— Image by mobilegeeks.de

A leaked screenshot of an inventory system, allegedly from Europe’s largest electronics retailer, Media Market, has entered the wild, showing a price list for the still unannounced iPad Mini. The screenshot was posted by the German site MobileGeeks.

Shown in the screenshot are 16 different configurations for the iPad Mini with memory options of 8, 16, 32, and 64GB, as well as network options of WiFi-only or cellular, and color options of black or white.

The pricing is listed in Euros and roughly converts to a price range of $322 for the 8GB WiFi-only model to $650 for the 64GB cellular model. $322 is kind of a weird price point for Apple but it should be noted that CNet is assuming that Europe’s 19% value-added tax is already included in the price.

So will Apple price the 8GB WiFi iPad Mini at $299, which is the same as the 32GB iPod touch? Or will it be closer to $319 or $329?

The $299 price point would really be enticing for anyone who buys an iPod touch — they want all the best parts about the iPhone without the hassle of the phone contract. Now, consumers can get everything, but with a bigger screen (that isn’t too big), all for the same price.

Some may argue and say that would cut into iPod touch sales. I’m not sure that’s a concern. From a sales approach, customers simply have more choices. I want a mobile Internet device I can go running with — iPod touch. I want a mobile Internet device I can draw sketches on — iPad Mini. I want a mobile Internet device I can fit in my jeans pocket — iPod touch. I want a mobile Internet device I can fit in my (man) purse — iPad Mini.

It bares repeating that these leaked images are not confirmed and that Apple hasn’t even confirmed the existence of an iPad Mini. That said, rumors have surfaced claiming Apple will unveil the iPad Mini on Oct 23, and industry insiders such as Jim Dalrymple have given it a “yep.”

We recently reported that The Guardian had stated the iPad Mini would only be available with WiFi and no cellular connection. So with conflicting rumors swirling around out there, what do you think we’ll see, if anything, on October 23rd?

 

 
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GS3 Mini is Less of a Phone when compared to iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3

Published on October 12, 2012 by in Commentary, iPhone

According to Brian Barrett’s article in Gizmodo, the Galaxy S 3 Mini “is a major letdown.”  The intent of the Samsung GS3 Mini was to create a phone you could put in your pocket, a phone with a manageable size, a mini phone.  This would make the phone easier to carry around.

However, the desire lately seems to be, “the bigger, the better” when it comes to smart phones.  In my opinion, that’s the fundamental reason the GS3 Mini was described as a letdown.  It is just too small.  People constantly complain about the size of the keyboard on the smaller iPhone; making the GS3 Mini even smaller definitely does not help solve that issue.

Barrett argues the letdown factors based on concrete details.  The display is not top quality, measuring 800×480.  In contrast, the Samsung Galaxy S 3 has a near-retina display, making it a much better quality screen.

In terms of processors, the GS3 runs efficiently on a quad-core processor.  Unfortunately, the GS3 Mini only runs on a 1GHz dual-processor.  This makes it much slower, and it does not provide the speed and efficiency for which consumers look when purchasing a smartphone.

The camera poses another problem.  Again, the GS3 has an 8MP rear camera, along with a very high quality front camera and video recorder.  Unfortunately, the GS3 Mini, just a bit smaller, only has a 5MP rear-facing camera.  This means the image quality of the photo suffers.  In a day when many people are disposing of their digital cameras and replacing them with their smartphone cameras, taking a step back in quality seems like an odd choice for Samsung.

And, if that wasn’t enough, the GS3 has no 4G data available.  Zero.  Zilch.  The iPhone 5, Samsung GS3, and many other Android-based devices and smartphones have 4G data.  It is a shame that the GS3 Mini has absolutely no 4G data; again, another step back.

One thing the GS3 Mini has going for it is what Barrett calls the “Galaxy Lineage.”  In other words, it comes from a long line of very intelligent and successful products.  All of which have been able to “fight Apple on its own turn,” according to Barrett.

According to Aki Libo-on’s article, “Samsung Galaxy Mini is Less Than an Apple,” it was rumored that the “Galaxy Mini will compete against Apple’s iPhone 5.”

Unfortunately, this is nowhere near the case.  The iPhone 5 camera has almost twice the amount of megapixels, and the resolution is astoundingly better on the iPhone 5.  These two phones do not compare.  Refer to my previous article to see how the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S3 compare.

The GS3 Mini has 1 GB of RAM and 16GB of flash memory.  As with the GS3, the GS3 Mini comes with an expandable microSD card slot that allows for more memory space.  Accprding to Libo-on, the GS3 Mini’s “toned down specifications could also mean that Samsung wants to dominate the low-end part of the smartphone market.”

An interesting speculation, to say the least.  Whether that is true or not, Samsung has definitely found its GS3 Mini at the low-end part of the smartphone market.  That doesn’t mean this phone is a total bust; it just mean there are far better smartphones out there for you to check out before you make your educated purchase.

 
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